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What is a Top-of-Mind Candidate?


Unlike parents and teachers, recruiters have no problems admitting that they play favourites. All recruiters have “top-of-mind” candidates and when a role comes up for which that candidate qualifies, they’re the first person the recruiter calls. If you can get yourself into this sweet spot, searching for jobs becomes much easier; in fact, searching starts to become unnecessary because opportunities fall into your lap!

To help you better understand what’s inside a recruiter’s head when they’re picking favourites, we surveyed Eagle’s Team on the topic and put together a series of posts. Over the next few weeks, we’ll share the common traits of top-of-mind candidates, some steps you can take to improve their impression of you, as well as insight into some habits that will put you in their bad books.

You may be wondering “Why should I care about sucking up to recruiters? My skills are top-notch and I have plenty of experience.” That is true, and is absolutely the most important part of landing the right contract, but building a relationship has many advantages too. According to the survey we conducted, the majority of recruiters said they’re often able to skip the search and immediately call somebody for a role. In fact, 88% of them said this happens on more than half of their roles. That means that you can apply for as many roles as you’d like and have the best resume ever, but if you’re not top-of-mind, a recruiter will rarely bother to seek you out. Of course, these statistics exclude niche roles. If you possess hard-to-find skills and work in a specialized role, you already know that you’re in a different camp.

Working to earn the top spot on a recruiter’s go-to list isn’t easy given how many contractors they meet on a regular basis, and your first impression is critical.  Nine out of 10 recruiters said that the first phone call or meeting has an effect on your future relationship and whether or not you’ll move to preferred status.  The good news, though, is that there isn’t limited space on a recruiter’s favourites list. Two-thirds of Eagle’s recruiters said that more than half of the people they interview earn top-of-mind status.

So how exactly can you ace an interview with a recruiter to become a top-of-mind candidate? If you mess up the first time, can you redeem yourself? How can you maintain that preferred status? Stay posted to the Talent Development Centre over the next few weeks for answers to all of these questions and more!